Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Monday, July 23, 2018, 4:03 PM

On Sunday evening, President Trump warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Twitter to “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN,” after Rouhani said in a speech that a war with Iran would the “mother of all wars.” The New York Times reports that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, backed up Rouhani’s statements on Sunday. Tensions have risen between the U.S. and Iran over the last few months after the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May. Most recently, Rouhani threatened to disrupt U.S. oil shipments within the Middle East if the U.S. went forward with its sanctions on Iranian oil.

For the first time, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application for surveillance has been released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. On July 21, the Trump administration released a classified application to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, reports the Washington Post. The applications, which were filed by the FBI with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, lay out the bureau’s suspicion that Page was acting as a Russian agent.

Defense attorneys in the 9/11 military commissions case now claim that Attorney General Jeff Sessions exerted unlawful influence to oppose a potential plea deal, writes the Miami Herald. In October of 2018, Sessions called Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to “voice his objections” to any plea agreements in the case. In February of this year, Convening Authority Harvey Rishikof was in the middle of secret exploratory plea negotiations when Sessions fired him. Defense counsel are now seeking to dismiss the case on the grounds of unlawful influence—or at a minimum, to make it a non-capital case.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the United Arab Emirates to reunite Qatari families separated by a boycott that the U.A.E. has imposed since June of 2017, reports Reuters. Qatar filed a lawsuit with the ICJ in June, arguing that the boycott imposed by the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt violated many Qataris’ rights when it forced them to leave their homes and families without the possibility of return. The court did not rule on the merits of the case, but rather voted 8-7 to grant Qatar’s request for “provisional measures” while the court prepares to hear the case in full.

Plans for Ecuador to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United Kingdom are “coming to a head,” according to Reuters. Since 2012, Assange has lived in Ecuador’s London embassy with the knowledge that if he steps outside he will be arrested for violating bail conditions. While the charges for which he was originally arrested have been dropped, a British judge ruled in February that Assange’s breach of bail condition was an offense in its own right, regardless of the underlying charges, said the Guardian. Reuters reports that representatives from both governments played down the likelihood of an impending agreement, saying “a short- or long-term solution is not in sight.”

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

Orin Kerr predicted how Judge Kavanaugh may approach Fourth Amendment cases.

Victoria Clark, Mikhaila Fogel, and Matthew Kahn outlined several takeaways from Maria Butina’s detention hearing on July 18.

Jen Patja Howell posted the Lawfare Podcast, in which Jennifer Hillman and Clark Packard joined Shannon Togawa Mercer to discuss trade and national security.

Paul Rosenzweig offered further reflections on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s July 13 indictment of 13 Russian intelligence officers.

Quinta Jurecic posted the Carter Page FISA application released by the Justice Department.

David Kris provided his analysis of the Carter Page FISA applications.

Nathan Stock argued that Western and Arab governments should encourage Palestine to rehabilitate democracy given President Abbas’ recent health crisis.

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